by Erin Ever heard of geocaching?? Yah, me neither until about a week ago. I came across it while surfing blog land. It sounded interesting so I had to learn more.
Geocaching is an outdoor activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers (Tupperware or similar) or ammo boxes can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little value. Geocaching is most often described as a "game of high-tech hide and seek,"...
Interesting, I thought, but surely there would not be any geocaches near me, and certainly not any in areas that I could go exploring with my 2 1/2 year old.
I signed up for a free account at http://www.geocaching.com/, and was excited to learn there were several geocaches within 10 minutes walking distance from my house. Now this was getting exciting!!
In order to find caches near me I had to plug in my postal code. This provided me with a list of caches near me sorted by distance. The caches are also rated for difficulty and terrain. Because I had no idea what to expect, we chose a very basic one. There is also a place to log your visit to the cache on the website. It was helpful to read through the posts because it gave me some hints on what to look for as well as some insight into the difficulty.
Since Miss K has a serious obsession with a certain cartoon "explorer", I thought this would be right up her alley. She drew her own map and everything!
In addition to our GPS we brought some stickers and a magnet (for trading), a pen (to sign the log book) and a camera (to document the find). Since we weren't venturing far from home I didn't bother to bring drinks or snacks, but I will in future if we decide to go farther. Also, I highly recommend wearing closed footwear. Miss K wore Crocs and I wore flip flips - not the best choices when searching a wooded area.
I plugged in the coordinates provided by the website and away we went. It didn't take long for me to realize that something just wasn't right with the GPS. After some fiddling with the settings I realized that the unit should have been set to "pedestrian" and "off road". Once I had everything fixed up we were back on track.
Miss K and I followed the "pink path" until we reached the general area of our treasure. On the website it describes what the cache will look like. We were looking for a medium size food storage container covered in black duct tape.
It took a little playing with the GPS unit to figure out how to find such a specific point, but finally the unit told us we were within 0.8 meters of the coordinate we had entered. A quick peek behind a tree revealed our prize:
We were very excited to say the least. I fished the container out of the tree and we opened it up. Inside there was a log book and pen sealed inside a zipper storage bag along with a variety of other items. I let Miss K trade swap some stickers and I signed the log book. We sealed the container up again and placed it back in its spot.
This was a really fun activity. Miss K is motivated because there was "treasure" and she got some new stickers. We are planning on going again soon - Daddy wants to come next time because he thinks that he will be able to find a more difficult cache with his superb orienteering skills (we will see). I think we will also create a cache of our own to hide on one of our favorite dog walking paths.
Erin is mom to 2 (almost 3) year old “Miss K” and 6 month old “Mister J”. You can read her blog at My Suburban Adventure